2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel debuts at SAE Detroit Section meeting

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel debuts at

SAE Detroit Section meeting

by Jerome Rzucidlo
AmericaJR.com Web Team

DETROIT — The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel was the featured vehicle at this month’s meeting of the SAE Detroit Section, which was held inside Cobo Center during the annual SAE World Congress.

Dr. Ben Winter (pictured above), Chrysler Vice President of Vehicle Engineering, was the first speaker and announced that Jeep can’t make the Grand Cherokee fast enough to meet demand. The automaker’s 2012 net profit was $1.7 billion.

“We are very strong with a mix of new and fresh products,” he said. “The right people and the right organizational structure is in place. We have a lean and efficient product development team. We have established a new Chrysler Product Creation process. We keep our team and product management in sync. Currently we have 20 million lines of software code. We learn from our manufacturing colleagues. Jefferson North assembly plant is home of the Jeep Grand Cherokee. It employs over 4,000 people. We have incorporated WCM Principles in the Engineering process.”

Mr. Jim Morrison, Director of Jeep Brand Product Manufacturing (picture above), says the Jeep brand yearly sales group was up 19 percent in 2012. “We have a solid plan and a great vehicle to continue the momentum in 2014,” he explained. “Jeep is more friendly to the environment. EcoDiesel is the cleanest diesel amongst its competitive set. It is also the number one request by Jeep enthusiasts. There is also a financial appeal: fuel cost savings, extra performance and lowest priced diesel amongst its competitive set. Diesel sales surpassed hybrid sales in SUV/CUV segments in 2012. The Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel improves 4×4 capability with 30 mpg fuel economy, driving range and towing.”

Morrison added: “People think SUV’s are hard on gasoline, but you can get 30 mpg in the Jeep Grand Cherokee with a 730 mile driving range. It is the cleanest diesel with the lowest CO2 emissions. The cost of the Limited diesel is $40,000, the Overland diesel is $49,190 and the Summit diesel is $52,495. The EcoDiesel name and badge create different attention for diesel by suggesting something new and different. EcoDiesel also receives positive media feedback.”

Ray Durham (pictured above), Jeep’s Vehicle Line Executive for SUV Vehicles, says that the 4×4 is intelligent enough to select terrains with driver-selectable settings to coordinate power train, braking and suspension systems. It has snow, sand, mud, auto and rock settings. Uconnect has voice control of audio and climate systems. It can also receive text messages, identify the sender and has an option to read that message aloud. EcoDiesel has specific features such as a unique 4-low engine calibration. The tank holds 8.5 gallons with a 10,000-mile range.

Larry Nowak (pictured above), Chrysler’s Diesel Engine Platform Manager, noted that the 3.0-liter, EcoDiesel model has a 240-hp engine at 3600 rpm, with 7400 lbs. towing, 730 miles driving range with 30 mpg highway. “It has low CO2 and low emissions and is certified in all 50 states,” he said. “It has engine and exhaust technologies which means it is extremely clean so you can expect a smooth, quiet ride with good engine response. It also has a 29k-psi common-rail fuel injection system. Eco mode optimizes on improving fuel economy.”

Mircea Gradu, Jeep’s Vice President of Powertrain, Transmission and Driveline Engineering, talked about the TorqueFlite 8 Transmission design, which has a wide gear ratio spread (7.3) to cover towing, acceleration and highway cruising. “With small ratio steps (less than 1.5) for improved quality and efficiency for smoother and quicker gear changes,” he explained. “The 2014 Grand Cherokee with the eight-speed transmission and Selec-terrain seamlessly combine features to enhance vehicle performance. Selec-terrain has nine different settings (four high and four low) maximizing capability. A key feature for off-road performance is Selec-speed control. It also has a 10,000-mile maintenance interval.”

Jeremy Goddard, 2013 SAE Detroit Section Chair opened the meeting by thanking ZF for sponsoring the social hour. He also thanked Bosch, Kautex, and Mayco for being sponsors. “You and your company’s participation drives this Section,” says Goddard. He noted the upcoming events and announced that this morning we had our Innovation Competition. All of our events are posted on www.sae-detroit.org and on our social media websites.

The Cadillac ATS will be the featured vehicle at next month’s meeting of the SAE Detroit Section on Tuesday, May 14 at The San Marino Club in Troy, Mich